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All Hell Broke Loose
by Bobby Macleod

Mary sat down next to her friend in the court waiting area. A Women’s Institute lady asked her if she wanted a cup of tea. Mary hesitated for a moment then answered yes, asked for it with milk and just a little bit of sugar, then handed over 75 pence.

Mary turned to her friend and said, “you know I almost never have a cup of tea when I’m out, it’s never like a cup at home”.

Her friend nodded and said “no, it isn’t”.

Mary continued, “now, you know, I don’t like sweet things, so I only take just a smidgen of sugar in my tea, to take away the bitterness”.

Her friend nodded and said, “yes, yes”.

“Well”, Mary said, “you ask that in a cafe or while visiting, and they say to themselves a smidgen is a quarter of a teaspoon, but that’s far too much for me. A quarter teaspoon and the cup is ruined.”

“Oh I know”, her friend said.

Mary said, “a smidgen of sugar should be just the tip of the teaspoon, barely noticeable to the eye, but enough to mask the bitterness of the tea cause you know how folk tend to stew it”. Her friend closed her eyes and nodded.

The Woman’s Institute lady came back and handed Mary her cup of tea. Mary took a sip and all hell broke loose.